The Teaneck International Film Festival has always been about more than the films. In its eighth year, the event focuses on a theme of bringing about change, a nod to the history of social activism in the Bergen County town.
TELL ME MORE: In the days leading up to tonight's start of the festival, workers were feverishly trying to finish restoration of Teaneck Cinemas (formerly Cedar Lane Cinemas) to host tonight's feature film, as well as other events throughout the weekend. (Festivalgoers should check teaneckfilmfestival.org today for the official location of those events, which will be held either at the Teaneck Cinemas or at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.) The festival kicks off at 8 p.m. with "The Central Park Five," a PBS documentary on the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park in 1989. They spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he had committed the crime, resulting in their convictions being overturned. The documentary was directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon. Two of the men -- Korey Wise and Kevin Richardson -- will participate in a talk-back with McMahon along with other guests familiar with the criminal justice system and the plight of ex-convicts.
Some of the other highlights, films and events include:
* Red Carpet Gala, Cinema and Song II, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, $18, Temple Emeth: Vivian Sessoms and Clinton Daniel will perform a program of songs from the movies, including "The Way We Were," "The Color Purple," "The Great Gatsby" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's," sung in front of corresponding clips.
* "Stones in the Sun," 4:05 p.m. Sunday, $8, Temple Emeth: Teaneck actor Carlo Mitton appears in the film and will participate in a talk-back with director and star Patricia Benoit after the film about three pairs of Haitian refugees whose lives intersect in New York City in the 1980s.
* Kids Flix Mix 2013, 11 a.m. Sunday, free, Puffin Cultural Forum: The Best of the New York International Children's Film Festival will be hosted once again by town resident and "Sesame Street" legend Bob McGrath. It showcases short film animation from around the world for kids ages 4 to 8.
* "Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women," 11:30 a.m. Sunday, $8, Temple Emeth: This comedic documentary directed by Rachel Talbot tells the story of six Jewish female comic performers of the last century -- Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein.
* "Made in Dagenham," 1:40 p.m. Sunday, $8, Temple Emeth: The story of women workers at the Ford automobile plant in Dagenham, England, who in 1968 stormed into the streets and began to strike in protest of their unfair treatment. Starring Bob Hoskins, Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Rupert Graves and Andrea Riseborough.
DETAILS: Films and events will be at these locations: Teaneck Cinemas, 503 Cedar Lane; Puffin Cultural Forum, 20 Puffin Way; and Temple Emeth, 1666 Windsor Road. If Teaneck Cinemas is not ready, the alternate location is Thomas Jefferson Middle School, 655 Teaneck Road. Tickets are $8 at the door for all films except for opening night, which is free.
MORE INFO: teaneckfilmfestival.org.
-- Kara Yorio
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